We had a rainy Friday at school, so I cut out some giant paper dolls from a roll of butcher paper and had my Senior Kindergarten students paint self-portraits. They worked away at them on and off all day.
The joy of watching children painting is their complete absorption and lack of judgment. They joy for them is in the feeling of the paint being smoothed across the paper, the textures of the brushstrokes, the mixing of two colours into another, and the coming to life of an image on what was once a blank space.
One of the children claimed, "We can be artists someday!"
I replied, "We ARE artists...look at the art you all just created!"
Sometimes I need to urge myself to get into the mess of painting at home (when I do it so often at work). Their task was to create a picture of themselves with Nanny for her birthday.
Their focus and delight in colour is a joy to behold. I love seeing how they develop in their skills, particularly in painting humans. Jude has eased away from the detail he used to add, and now makes stick people with no features or details. Too many plans for adventures in his head, or he just imagines them there. My husband and I (we both teach Kindergarten) marvel at how drawing development relates to reading readiness.
Did you know that the addition of the ground or sky indicates reading readiness? Margot has just started adding grass, clouds, etc., and is eager to practise her letters and letter sounds. I see it in my classroom all the time; children who represent people by drawing just a head, or an "open hairpin" (ball with two sticks for legs) are generally not ready for reading yet.
While it may be fascinating pedagogically and developmentally from my perspective, for them it's just what it is: art, being created with joy and without judgment.